Museveni shuts down Entebbe airport, closes all borders

President Museveni has announced the closure of Entebbe international airport to all commercial flights effective March 22, 2020 at midnight for 32 days.

Museveni said Uganda which has not yet registered any case of coronavirus is stepping up her efforts to keep the pandemic that has ravaged the world out of the country.  

Museveni also announced the closure of all border entry points, saying only three cargo crew will be allowed in the country. All those entering the country via air, land or water will not be allowed, Museveni said, and that it is easier to screen cargo than multitudes of incoming passengers.

Also still allowed to fly into the country are UN planes carrying out humanitarian and emergency work as well as internal flights. 

Museveni said in the absence of an East African Community risk plan, no person, Ugandan national or otherwise will be allowed into Uganda after March 22 at 12:00hrs. Museveni said anyone violating the travel ban risks arrest. Museveni also warned those with colds and flu from mixing with the public, urging them to keep indoors. The president also ruled out releasing prisoners in a bid to mitigate the risk of infection. Museveni said with open borders it becomes difficult to manage the suspected cases entering into country. 

Key symptoms of coronavirus include dry cough, shortness of breath and fever.

Health minister Jane Ruth Aceng said closing all the entry points is the right move that will enable authorities to manage and revert all efforts to managing the pandemic from within. According to Aceng, more than 1,000 people are currently under quarantine. 

Yesterday, the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority blocked 10 South Korean nationals from entering the country. According to Vianney Luggya, the UCAA spokesperson, RwandaAir had jetted in over 10 South Koreans and other nationals. Rwanda, Nigeria have also closed down their airports to commercial flights.  

He said that since South Korea is among the countries under category one of high-risk countries with high cases of coronavirus cases, they were advised to return to their country. 

Globally, 290,819 cases of COVID-19 and 11,980 deaths have been confirmed. More than 611 have been recorded on the African continent in 34 countries. Egypt followed by South Africa has the highest number of cases standing at 285 and 240 respectively.  

Source: The Observer